As the Wholesome Direct has been demonstrating for two years in a row, there’s more and more room for games to move away from the traditional beat-the-villain model. Busy-work games like PowerWash Simulator, feel-good titles like Stardew Valley or cute games like KeyWe aren’t exactly rare anymore. Shumi Come Home fits in that same list.
In this game you run through a forest as a small anthropomorphic mushroom. You probably guessed it, but your name is Shumi and you are lost in this forest. You are not in danger or under time pressure and you can explore the forest in peace to end up at home.
This forest immediately caught the eye because of the choice of its art style. Shumi feels like it was drawn with crayons, which is enhanced by the font used for the dialogues, which is reminiscent of a child’s handwriting. It gives the whole a unique feel that you have to love. I’m not a fan of it, in all honesty, but this is entirely a matter of taste. However, it fits perfectly with the tranquility that the game wants to radiate.
The same idea is also reflected in the gameplay, which lets you talk to inhabitants of the forest to learn more about it and progress. Usually there has to be something against this, because the sun rises for nothing. It’s here that Shumi Come Home’s feel-good mentality starts to be a limitation.
In a game where there are no enemies, there are no elimination quests, no escort missions and you certainly don’t have to solve a murder. That’s why in my demo session fetch quest after fetch quest passed, which got boring very quickly. I then said this in all honesty to the developer standing next to me, jokingly calling the game Fetch Quest: The Game, but reassuring that the focus was more on exploration. I hope so, because even though I found flowers, a pencil and food, the fun slipped through my fingers at that moment.
Not every game needs to be action packed, but the way Shumi Come Home handled it during my playing session left me extremely bored. After all, there are only a few who get excited about fetch quests.